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Feb
23

Breaking into Home Ownership – Finding a Fixer Upper

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Finding a Fixer UpperFinding a fixer upper

Buying and fixing old houses is a lucrative aspect of the real estate business that has attracted hordes of investors. It is always a smart move to buy older houses because their prices are low and they are less competitive. Besides, if you choose this route you can qualify for unique grants and loan programs that can help you with the remodeling or renovation of these houses.

Purchasing and repairing an older home, is not the exclusive preserve of investors. If you are looking for a cheap priced mortgage, you can also go for this option and work on fixing up the place after you have moved into the house. Once the repairs are completed, you may choose to continue living in the house or resell for profit. Before you break into home ownership and try to find a fixer upper.

Here are some valuable things you should know first.

  • What is Your Motive?

Before you start your hunt, decide on what exactly is your motive. Are you buying to occupy the home or are you investing for a resale? If you are purchasing and want to sell at a later period, you have 2 major options. Firstly, you can remodel and resell. Secondly, you can repair the property and lease it out to a tenant.

There are pros and cons for both options. If you resell the property, you can make some quick money on your investment within a short time frame. Unoccupied homes are always easy to sell off. Alternatively, getting a tenant for your home assures you of a steady income instead of an outright sale. You might need to consider the hassles of getting tenants. It is not exactly as straight forward as it may seem because of this houses have been known to be unoccupied for months. It is important that you have a cash reservoir to cover your mortgage payments for the first few months.

  • Close Places Best Buys

When you want to buy and fix a house there are places that are a gem. There are other places you should avoid like a plague. For instance, there are some cities that are experiencing a boom in the real estate market. It would be very hard for you to find homes within a lower price range there.

If buying and selling is your ultimate goal, you might want to look outside the usual areas. Multiple service listings provide accurate descriptions of properties in every province, city or town. Use this service and see if you can dig out some diamonds in the rough from adjoining cities, states or towns.

Before starting a fixer-upper project, carry out a comparative analysis of properties in the immediate area. After your remodeling and house improvements, the market value should be the same with other houses in the area. If houses in the area are going for $200,000 and your fixer-upper is meant to go for $300,000 for you to recoup your fix costs, you have a major problem there.

  • Inspect the House

Before submitting a bid for the house, inspect it thoroughly. You can employ the services of a home inspector. Ensure that the house has been erected on a strong foundation, check for electrical and structural damage as well. If the house requires a large budget how much would it cost you? If the project is too expensive, forget it and look for something else.

If you are operating on a tight budget, avoid properties that require a lot of work. Instead put in bids for properties that require only minimal improvements like carpeting, fixtures, painting, replacing cabinets, plastering and the likes.

Try to also be available when the inspector checks out the house. Use a notebook to make your own observations as you walk through the place. Ensure that you compare different homes before arriving at a final decision. Fixer uppers always need work. So do not expect to find a home that is in top shape just waiting to welcome you.

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Feb
17

Should I Become a Real Estate Agent? The Pros and Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent

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The Pros and Cons of Being a Real Estate AgentIf you want to switch careers and work as a real estate agent, it is not really a bad idea. However, you need to be aware of the highs and lows. There are real estate agents who earn a fortune plying their trade to clients. They live in big houses and drive fancy cars. On the other hand, there are real estate agents who are struggling, living from hand to mouth and contemplating everyday if they should just quit and do something else. If you are considering whether you should become a real estate agent or not.

Here are the pros and cons of being a Real Estate Agent:

Licensing & Accreditation Costs Money

A license costs money and it varies from province to province. Before you get licensed, you will need to write few exams and before you write the exams you need to attend classes. These things cost money. So prepare yourself because you will surely fork out 1000’s of dollars before you even meet your first client.

There is also the Canadian Real Estate Association to contend with, where you will have to pay dues annually at the local, province or national level. You will also be required to obtain a license to work as an independent contractor. There is no minimal start-up capital with real estate; you have to literally pay the price.

People Can Be Difficult

You are going to be dealing with different types of people. Do not expect everyone to hold your hand and treat you nicely. Some people are going to be downright nasty and make you question the rationale behind your career choice. Real estate involves transactions, people get finicky and stressed when it comes to money, so brace yourself for a lot of attitude, tantrums and tongue-lashing.

This profession is not for the faint-hearted. Some clients can promise you the world and disappoint at the 11th hour, throwing your entire life into jeopardy. You need a thick skin to survive in this profession. Prepare to be a scapegoat or butt kisser in your bid to stoop and conquer.

Do not expect a Paycheck

The real estate business is commission based. Needless to say, do not expect a weekly or monthly paycheck. Studies show that most realtors hardly make anything in their first six months. So ensure you have some savings stashed in your account or a partner who can provide for the short-term and pay the bills. The housing market is not a straightforward one. Clients change their minds all the time; the industry is stable today and crazy tomorrow.  Furthermore, it simply might just take more than 10-15 days to receive your commissions even if you have closed a deal.

Here are some benefits that you can enjoy as a real estate agent.

  • You Can Rake in Serious Cash

The amount of money one can make as a real estate agent is a major-pull for most people. You receive a commission for every deal you close successfully. And depending on the nature of the deal and how well you play the game, you could just retire a rich man or woman. Some franchise companies require that you pay to work with them and they may even get a percentage of your commissions too. But the good thing with franchising is that you are pitching your tent with a successful brand and it is only a matter of time, before you rake in some serious cash.

  • Get Paid for Your Passion

Do you like meeting people? Do you love travelling to different places? Do you like working without supervision? The real estate business is a true definition of a passion that can be profitable. There is nothing that beats getting paid doing something that you love. The real estate craft is not your traditional job or a regular 9-5. It is unconventional, different and usually laden with surprises and challenges. There are some people who live for moments like these rather than being imprisoned behind a desk or getting bored to death looking into a computer. If you are a free-spirited extrovert, looking for something to cope with your boundless energy and not bore you, look no further.

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Feb
17

Real Estate Agent Guide: What Is Prospecting and What Are the Steps Involved in It?

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What Is Prospecting and What Are the Steps Involved in It?Many real estate agents have spent so many years in the profession and have very little to show for their efforts. The real estate business is basically a numbers game. Your success depends on how many quality clients you can get into your database and convince that you are capable of providing solutions for them. It is wrong for you to think that your agency (if you are not an independent contractor) will always generate leads for you. You cannot sit down with your feet on the table and wait for someone to waltz through the door or for the phone to ring. This is the fastest route to failure.

Real estate prospecting is a key strategy you must use if you want to have any chance of success. It is a well-thought process that ensures that you record a steady flow of business and customers. You might start small and record little activity. However, if you do things right, your business could reach astronomical proportions with you boasting a teeming database of people who trust your business acumen and like your personality well enough to keep coming back to you and even giving you referrals. More about Real Estate Agent Guide…..

There are basically 4 steps to a winning prospecting system and they include:

  1. Choosing a Niche Market: It is important to determine your target audience or who you want to be the beneficiary of your advertisements or marketing strategies. Are you targeting newly married couples? Are you looking at retirees? Find your market and the rest comes easily.
  2. Choosing your Method of Contact: When you have located your market, the most effective way to reach out to them is your next goal. If you are looking to target retirees, you are not going to find them partying in a nightclub and offer them a business card.
  3. Giving an Offer they Cannot Refuse: The main objective of a prospecting system is to find a potential client and make him an offer, he would find hard to refuse. He may not buy or sell immediately. But if you whet his appetite well-enough, chances are high he would give you a call in future.
  4. A Follow-Up is Crucial: Once you have uncovered your potential clients, build a rapport with them. A relationship beyond just doing business boundaries is mandatory.

Owning a real estate contact management software keeps you heads and shoulders over your colleagues. Never keep contact information on sticky notes or scraps of paper; you will always misplace them at some point. If you do not have an effective prospecting system, you will not know which orders should be prioritized and what you should follow through only when you are less busy.

When you develop a system for your profession, you define your sense of purpose and this helps to perk up your results. So whenever you make any contact with a prospect, get their full name, spouses name, postal address, email address and cell phone number. If you cannot do this, it will affect your opportunity to follow-up on them and subsequently build a relationship. Ensure that you always keep in touch with all your prospects and clients.

Try to also focus on quality rather than quantity. There is no point in building a database of 100’s of people who are never interested in buying a house or renting. Top real estate agents do not waste their time on bad prospects. They stick with only the ones with potential. If you are always dealing with bad prospects they can dent your morale and damage your confidence.

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Feb
17

Buying a House with Resale Value in Mind – Important Factors that You Must Consider

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Buying a House with Resale Value in MindBuying a home is a mark of accomplishment. However, when you purchase a house for yourself and family, it is important to keep in mind that home might be sold later on in future. You might need to change jobs and need to move. Your business might be doing great which would require that you move to a better area or bigger house. Whatever your reasons might be, when you buy a house ensure that you have a resale value in mind. So that when you want to sell in future it does not prove to be a frustrating experience. Here are important factors that you must consider.

  • Location

Location is always the main reason why most people buy their properties. It is important that you take this very seriously because you can hardly do anything about it once you buy. Buying a home in the middle of a commercial district is never an attractive prospect. Many prospective buyers would not bother to even look at the house. It is evident that it will raise safety concerns over their kids and bother their sleep at night with vehicles zipping across the street 24-7. In addition, houses around the airports or train stations are also a tough act to sell.

  • Old Neighborhood New House

Another thing you should factor into consideration is the neighborhood you plan on staying. Is it an old residential neighborhood? Are the homes in a good condition or are they falling apart? If the homes in the area are an eyesore, it will surely bring down the value of your own property, even if your property has just being renovated and is looking as good as new.

Furthermore, never purchase old houses that have bedrooms with no closets or just one bathroom. This might set you back 1000’s of dollars if you want to renovate. It will also reduce the sizes of your rooms as you try to make your home more convenient or habitable. A house that lacks the trimming of a modern home always poses a huge resale problem for any seller.

  • All that Glitters is Not Gold

It helps for you to visit your potential home both day and night. What is the reason for doing this? You need to find out just how busy the neighborhood is and catch out other happenings during the course of the day or night. You need to do this often because you might have missed certain things during your first visit. Try to bring a buddy or family member when next you visit your potential home. It helps to have a second pair of eyes and an opinion apart from yours. You might just notice something about your home that you never considered.

  • Crappy Layouts

There are some homes that are simply caught up in a time warp. They come with no front or back yards and dodgy floor plans, where you can access bedrooms by adjoining doors. This might work for a young couple starting out in the race of life. However, this is hardly an attraction for a full-fledged family as it smacks of a lack of privacy. Anyone can mistakenly or unexpectedly barge in on someone including in an embarrassing state of undress. This type of set-up would be far from favorable for most modern families and they would surely look for something better.

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Feb
17

Home Buying: How to Identify a Diamond in the Rough

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How to Identify a Diamond in the RoughMost times, purchasing a home is an emotional decision. Sometimes, it helps to control your emotions and make some judgment calls based on not what you see on the surface but in the future. This might be difficult especially when we are humans and usually spurred on by emotions or sentiments.

A diamond in the rough is the house that most people overlook. They do not see the potential because it is always a dream house that they are looking for. A state of preparedness is a great way to keep your emotions in check. It is important to always keep an open and critical mind when you visit any property of interest. This helps you spot the hidden gem in the midst of the rubble.

Here are a few things to consider when you are looking for a diamond in the rough.

  • Be Practical

You will need to be practical and keep your eyes peeled for things that require your attention. What sort of foundation was used for the house? How old is the house? Who were the people that lived there before you came around? Why is the house for sale? What state is the plumbing system? These are the questions that you pose to the agent to identify your diamond in the rough. Is it a neighborhood in decline or are things changing? Is the area attracting people like you and developing rapidly? Once you tick all the crucial boxes, every other thing would undoubtedly fall in line.

  • Brace Yourself

Do not expect to waltz into your dream home and move right in without repairs or renovation. Do not expect too much and you would not be disappointed. When you expect that the wall and floor coverings would need to be replaced, it does not surprise you when you visit. These things are inexpensive. Keep your eyes on the big things. A floor plan matters more than the distasteful furniture the owner left behind. In this case, the little things do not exactly matter. If the house has been on the market for some time, the agent might be willing to give you a good deal.

  • Avoid an Up Sell

Most realtors try to up sell their clients. This means that they will show you crappy homes that suit your budget and take you to properties that might cost about $30,000 more. This might be outside your budget plan, but these agents are trying to cash in on your emotions and prompt you towards paying $30,000 extra for a dream home. Consider if the diamond in the rough will take up the same amount in repairs. If not, then go for it. Ensure that you always weigh your decisions practically and never be moved by what a real estate agent wants you to purchase.

  • The Important Room

When buying a home, forget the dream and go with reality. What do you do for a living? Where will you spend most of your time in your home? Is it the backyard or the living room? Do you work from home? Wherever, you spend the most time in your present house surely would be the most important room in your next house. And once these bases are covered, it should help you make a decision.  Furthermore, consider things like the view, size of the room and the amount of furniture that you have before making a decision.

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Feb
16

Real Estate VS Stock Market Investing – Where You Should Put Your Money

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Real Estate VS Stock Market Investing - Where You Should Put Your MoneyInvestors always want to put their money where there is little chance of them losing it. The real estate market enjoys relative stability unlike the stock market that may promise profitable returns but remains largely unpredictable. The real estate market has been around for a long time. Land and properties have always been seen as assets to be cherished and coveted. On the other hand, the stock market when compared to real estate remains a relatively new development.

Both markets are good sources of investment and it is possible to win and lose large amounts in both fields. However, some people will argue that the stock market poses a greater risk. Stocks are portable and are easy transactions that require just pushing a few buttons. A buyer chooses how much he wants to sell or buy. So how much profit you want to make is largely determined on how much cash you have at your disposal for shares or bonds. Alternatively, the real estate market requires a considerable amount of cash because you are buying properties and land. Furthermore, while this requires regular maintenance, there is nothing to renovate when it comes to stock options.

A persuasive argument that some people hold about stocks is that the profitability is without limit. This is why you can buy the stocks of a start-up company with your savings today and sell for some millionaire cash tomorrow. Imagine if you were one of those college students who sniggled at Mark Zukerberg back in the days instead of investing into his project!  It is true that stocks can plummet. But nothing can stop them from growing astronomically as well.

Real estate is all about location. If you want to invest in this market, never spend money on places with prospects. Go for ready-made places where people love, where tourists visit and where people want to live. Investment in this field might take a while before you see any profits. But they are well protected and enjoy tranquility most times unlike the stock market which is more about people investing money that they are willing to lose if need be.

The real estate market gives you control over your asset. You are investing in something that is tangible. So there is a better possibility that you can keep it until a good price comes along. Another advantage for investing in real estate is that the property helps to improve your standard of living and income. You can rent out the property and start recording profits almost immediately. On the other hand, your stock market predictions might go against the grail and this might take you years to sell.

Real Estate vs Stock Market Investing

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Feb
16

Tips for Changing Careers and Becoming a Real Estate Agent

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Tips for Changing Careers and Becoming a Real Estate AgentIf you want to switch careers and become a real estate agent, it is a good choice. One of the things that you enjoy is freedom and flexibility. You can have time for other jobs and also fulfill your role on the family front as a great father or mother to your children. When it comes to real estate business, you could be an independent contractor or work for an agency.

Whatever one you choose, you still have the freedom to set your hours and work at your own pace. However, succeeding in this profession is not exactly easy pickings. You are required to attend licensing classes and pass real estate exams. Are you interested in changing careers and becoming a real estate agent?

Here are some helpful tips you should consider before making that move.

  • There are No Free Meals

It costs a sizable sum of money to become a realtor. You are required to pay anything between $1000-$2000 for relevant licensing classes and a real estate exam. This depends on your location or where you reside. Every province decides on the qualifications required for licensing. However, a general rule is that you must be at least 18 years old and not be in trouble with the law.

The classes focus on various aspects of the business including financials, appraisals, specialized law, rule and ethics. You will spend money on materials and research during this period. Furthermore, you will have to pay for additional training courses and the levies of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The gas in your car when you drive to meet clients is also covered by you. This might amount to spending 100’s of dollars before your first sale. So ensure that you assess your situation critically before you act.

  • Have a Money Stash

The income of an agent is not a monthly paycheck. It is largely unstable. If you are nursing the need of becoming a real estate agent, you should have savings that can last you at least 6 months. It is not all about working hard and closing deals quickly. The thing is even if you successfully close a deal, it might take you awhile before you get paid. The fact that you are a licensed agent or just closed a humongous deal hardly means much. Most agents usually get their money 5-15 days after closing a deal.

  • Are You a People’s Person?

Do not be swayed by the freedom and profits that you can enjoy in this profession. It is a personality thing. It is about sales. It is about calling complete strangers or knocking on their door and having them listen to you instead of shutting the door in your face. It is about networking and having people send clients your way because you are just a nice person and a problem solver. You need strong people skills that can deal with issues quickly and decisively. This is what places you ahead of the pack and make people want to do business with you.

  • Can You Motivate Yourself?

You already know that the real estate business means being your own boss and setting your own work hours. But can you work without supervision? Are you the type who finds it hard to work without someone telling you what to do and where to go? If you are more comfortable following than taking the lead, there is nothing wrong with that. It only means that a real estate gig is not for you.

The real estate industry is not for the faint-hearted. There are times that you would have a house for months and not have any good bids come in. You will get doors shut in your face. You will have people dropping the phone on you. It is crucial that you motivate yourself, stay positive and keep moving. One single deal can make up for all the mishaps or delays that you encounter and open the doors to better opportunities.

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Feb
07

Common Risks Involved in Real Estate Investments

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Common Risks Involved in Real Estate InvestmentsReal estate is a profitable venture. Many millionaires would attest to this fact. However, the truthful ones will also tell you that they have gotten their fingers burnt at one time or the other. In other words, the real estate business is risky and profitable all at the same time. It is important to note that not property that you invest in will return a profit. There are many pitfalls and booby traps the unprepared investor may not be wary of. It is vital to understand the risks involved and steer clear of them.

Here are the common risks involved in different real estate investments.

  • Flipped Properties

This type of investment entails the renovating of a property to your peculiar tastes or preferences and selling it for a profit in future. A flipped property can become a major problem for you if you find out that you paid too much for the property or if you underestimated the cost of repairs or renovation. There is also the failure to meet up with the specified time frame for the completion of the project.

You might even have made the wrong judgment call by choosing a dodgy neighborhood. Sometimes, it is best to just sell at a loss and walk away. Hopefully, it would be an experience that would never repeat itself. However, the biggest problem of all is to be hit with a down turn in fortune of the real estate market. This might leave you stuck with the property forever or coerce you to sell at a loss.

  • Rental Properties

A rental property is a popular way to churn a profit. However, it comes with a slew of problems. Firstly, if the property cannot deliver income on a monthly basis to cover expenses, already it is an epic fail and not an investment you should be proud to be associated with. In addition, you might also need to contend with tenants from hell. The tenant who disturbs the neighbors with loud music, wild parties and smashes everything to bits when he has a temper.

Rental properties also pose a severe risk to your profits when they are uninhabited or vacant for long periods. The property might have cost you a tidy sum to build. Unfortunately, it is lying down idle, unused and not putting back your money in your pocket.

It is essential that you do your homework well and not purchase properties in areas that have low customer patronage. This might be due to a host of reasons including, high crime rates, areas prone to natural disasters or basically just places only see plenty of activity during particular periods of the year.

  • Personal Property

A property that you purchase for yourself and family to inhabit is an investment, make no mistake about it. When you build your home, work with the knowledge that it is meant to gain value over time in case of a resale.  So you need to avoid the risk of buying a house in backwater territory where the rest of the human race are uninterested or hardly pay a visit.

If you choose to do this, it puts you in a position where you would lose money on your home in case of a sell. You might also have a problem with obtaining a loan as your home would hardly be an attractive proposition for any serious-minded money lender. However, the biggest problem that you can encounter is buying a property without a proper inspection, only to discover that you share the home with rats and other representatives of the animal kingdom. Toxic inhalation and structural problems in the house are factors that could also pose a risky investment.

Risks Involved in Real Estate Investments

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Feb
07

Ways On How to Succeed as an Agent In Real Estate Business

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Ways On How to Succeed as an Agent In Real Estate BusinessThe economy of the world has become tougher for the average Joe to eke out a living. This is why people are getting creative and looking for complimentary ways to meet up with their expenses. This is the reason why some people have opted for the real estate business.  This venture requires effort and a decent amount of skill for it to be profitable.

Here are some smart ways you can succeed as an agent in real estate business.

Set Realistic Goals

The key to making a name for yourself in this business is to work to your strengths and avoid areas that expose your weaknesses. Let this be your guiding light when you are looking for your market, and clients. In addition, set goals that you can reach and not look at from a distance. You can break them down and streamline them into different phases if required

You need to be focused and ready to roll up your sleeves and work. Learn how to organize your contacts and manage your time properly. You need to always make out time to look for property, people would hardly come around to your office and hand you business on a platter, especially if you are just starting out.

Think Beyond the Box

Remember that you are not the only real estate agent on the planet. There are many people ahead of you in the game and even more people like you looking for that extra buck. So if you want to get ahead of them, you need to think differently, beyond the box. When you strategize properly, you will find it easy to hit the ground running and make all the right moves in the market that would stand you out from other agents jostling for properties.

An example of thinking beyond the box is working with repair companies. You need to build a crack team of plumbers, electricians, gardeners and the occasional handyman. If you have competent people working with you that might be your unique selling point. Other agents might find you as the go-to guy when a property requires renovation or a last minute repair. You might not earn a commission for selling the house. However, you might earn something on getting the grunt guys together to work on the house.

Work with the Pros

You need to work with professionals in this line of business. Never attempt to do everything yourself. You will not succeed. You will need to work with an accountant because real estate ventures involve loads of money. An accountant can help you analyze all the pros and cons. He can help you expose the golden niches of the market and provide you with good financial reason to chase business. On the other hand, an attorney can provide you with valuable information about property transactions and bring you up to speed with existing laws and how they affect you.

It is vital that you take the advice of professionals; it is mandatory if you want your business to grow. Remember that your success depends mostly on repeat clients and word of mouth referrals. So if you miss your way from the onset, it might be almost impossible for you to find your bearings and right those wrongs.

Ways On How to Succeed as an Agent In Real Estate Business

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Feb
07

Real Estate Agent Guide – The Best Real Estate Agent Always Makes the Best Deal

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Real Estate Agent Guide – The Best Real Estate Agent Always Makes the Best DealReal Estate Agent Guide

There are thousands of real estate agents according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. So in order for you to stand out and be the best, you need more than a license and knowledge of the real estate market. Most agents call it quits after a few years not because they lack the muscle to soldier on during tough times, but simply because they do not know how to negotiate. This makes them always fail to convince real estate investors to sell or motivate a buyer to splash out the cash on a property.

Here are some ways that you can be the best real estate agent and always be in a position to make the best deal.

  • Don’t Talk Just Listen

When you want to negotiate, listen first and speak later. When a client throws an offer on the table, do not react immediately. Mull over the offer before you respond. Most clients interpret this as disappointment and would review the offer. Master negotiators use this art to get less experienced people to make lower offers without having to open their mouths and make a counter-offer.

  • Information is King

The best real estate agent is the one with information at his disposal. During negotiations, it is important to know the objectives and the motives behind any deal. Negotiations are not always about money. It might be more about solving a problem rather than money. Some smart agents realize this and use it effectively to their advantage.

Imagine if there are 2 desperate agents jostling for an available property. One agent might think that the buyer with the most money wins and might want to ask for an extra month for his client to get financing. The second agent might ask the seller why his property is on the market. The seller might say that he has to take a job offer overseas and needs to move in the next 2 weeks. This savvy agent can close the deal by paying less in 2 weeks with no inspection contingencies.

The first agent offered more money but lost out. The second agent offered less and won. Why? He solved a problem and that was because he garnered information from the seller before making his offer.

  • Massage Egos

Avoid being an agent who is driven by a “winning ego” rather than doing business properly and preserving business relationships. Some agents would clamor for their last penny in commissions; others just walk away with an ego massage and collect all their entitlements.

You can turn the tables on contractors or even buyers by doing the exact thing. You can tell them you do not like doing business with them because they are so persuasive and convincing. Flattery can get you into certain places. You would be surprised how this can work to your benefit and ensure that you come out tops in a deal. This does not only make the other person lower his defenses. He might also feel that he owes you one and offer you a better price in future.

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